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I’ve been putting this off for a while now as I wanted to get my head properly around the goings on in the off-season in South Florida. It’s been a difficult off-season to swallow, if I’m honest. One of the most difficult that I can remember in my 20 years of following the ‘fins, and I have a feeling that’s only going to become a theme when the season finally rolls around in a few months time.

Where to start? Well, probably the most logical place would be at the Head Coach position, where Adam Gase was (to the surprise of nobody) relieved of his duties and replaced with former Patriots Defensive Coordinator Brian Flores. This is his first head coaching position, having fulfilled various roles in New England since 2004. It would be easy to be a bit sceptical about his abilities given this fact, but personally, I quite like the sound of the noises he’s making.

B-Flo (as I will be referring to him forever more) has a hell of a job on his hands. It’s a season of change in Miami, and he’s the one who has to oversee that change. There have been a LOT of big names who have also left the franchise, some of which had been around for years. The likes of Ryan Tannehill, Cameron Wake, Danny Amendola, Frank Gore and Ja’Wuan James have all departed this year, and it’s left an extremely young, team with fairly limited experience in some areas.

Some of these names came as more of a shock than others. It’s always going to be difficult when someone who you had pegged as being your franchise quarterback departs, but I do think it was Tannehill’s time to go. It’s an interesting move for him though, going to the Titans. I can’t imagine Marcus Marriota is particularly pleased about the move, but then again, he’s hardly set the league alight in the last couple of seasons.

In his place, we’ve signed Ryan Fitzpatrick. Yes, Dolfans, you can be forgiven for calling him Fitztragic a few years ago when he was in the green half of New York! It’s a move which comes with a number of questions for me, not least surrounding the draft and our strategy this year. We’ve got pick number 13 this year (assuming we don’t trade between now and the draft – this writer can’t be held responsible for that!) and many fans have been expecting a QB to sit under Fitz for a year and take over the reigns next year. And I can see why that’s a popular opinion – it makes sense after all. Fitzpatrick is no spring chicken and has played for pretty much every team in the league (near enough!) so I’d expect his best days are behind him. However, for me, that’s not the pick we should make this year. I absolutely think we’ll pick up a QB in a later round (possibly the second) but for me, first round needs to focus on our pass rush positions.

The loss of Ja’Wuan James was a big one without question – our loss is the Broncos’ gain there. And while he didn’t play much last year due to injury, it would have been extremely useful to have Josh Sitton around the place, but he has decided to hang up his boots. If we don’t strengthen our offensive line, it doesn’t matter who’s throwing the ball, they’ll be spending more time on their backside than actually passing. Besides, from what I understand of the draft classes of this year and next year, the QBs are going to be much stronger next year, and given that we’re potentially in for a rough season, we should be quite high up the draft board and in a position to pick someone who can take us forward.

But lets see what happens. The Draft is always interesting and always throws up some unexpected turns somewhere so anything really can happen. You watch us go and take a Wide Receiver in round 1 now…

It’s been a while since I’ve written so I’m trying to think of what else I have to tell you… I’ll do it in pictures!

I was clearing out my spare room over Easter weekend and this little beauty turned up – this was my playing jersey when I played at Uni. I’d imagine there are kids all over the place now wearing 31 in my honour…

I’ve also got to pick my Super Bowl winners bet – I’d like to do it in the next few days as I’m already a lot later than I was in last years’ losing effort in picking the Rams. Any ideas would be much appreciated, but this is how the top few odds are looking as of today (24th April) – the Dolphins are at 125/1 and Bengals at 80/1, out of interest…

And with all of that said, I’m off to watch this! [Not exactly a realistic negotiation stratergy – Ed.]

Until next time…

@TWFDan

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